We all know how it starts. A familiar tickle in the throat, a slight sniffle, reaching for an extra sweater because you’re feeling the winter chill more than usual. This is about the time I bunker down in bed with a Netflix series and a box of tissues at the ready. I accept that my fate for the next week is to be miserable and unproductive while I fondly remember the good ol’ days when my nostrils were clear and a hammer hadn’t taken up residence at the back of my head.
But do you really need to quarantine yourself for so long while a cold runs its course, or can you actually stop it in its tracks? If you can manage to rouse yourself from under your duvet and take a few proactive steps, the following natural remedies can do just that, or at least significantly shorten the duration of your suffering.
If you’re like me there can be no fanfare with food prep when you’re feeling under the weather. That’s why this easy concoction is perfect. Mince two organic garlic cloves and let them sit for 15 minutes for the active compounds to develop. Mix with olive oil and some Himalayan salt, smear it on a piece of toast, and you’re good to go with a cold banishing breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is the cold fighting classic, and Finnish research shows it can shorten the duration of colds. Since the human body does not manufacture or store vitamin C it must be obtained regularly from diet (or supplements). Consuming plenty of raw vegetables and fruits like brightly coloured bell peppers, citrus fruits, acerola cherry, broccoli and cauliflower will give you a good dose, but let’s face it – you’re unlikely to be wolfing down raw fruit and vege when a cold strikes. Supplementing is much easier. This essential vitamin is generally considered safe at doses up to 2,000 mg a day, according to the Mayo Clinic. At doses larger than that, it can potentially be problematic (hello diarrhoea!) so load up but don’t go too nuts.
3. Liquids, liquids, liquids
Staying hydrated is a game changer with a cold, but forcing down the water can be tough. Luckily you can get extra liquid nourishment in the form of hot drinks and bone broth. Try sipping on ginger, lemon and honey tea to soothe a sore throat and headaches, and fill up on bone broth to take the edge off of symptoms. Add some turmeric, ginger and garlic to the broth for more cold fighting oomph. If you don’t have homemade stores of bone broth then you can grab packets of bone broth powder at your heath food shop.
If your zinc is low you’ll really struggle to fight off that cold, and many of us do have suboptimal levels of zinc because of poor absorption and food choices. Experts say that popping zinc within 24 hours of the start of symptoms, and continuing to take it as long as your cold lasts, may help shorten your sniffle.
5. Take a bath
But not any old bath. Add a few drops of essential oil such as tea tree, eucalyptus, frankincense or lavender to a carrier oil, or to a couple of cups of Epsom salts, then dilute in your bath (don’t add the oil straight to the hot water as oil and water don’t mix!). This will help relieve muscle aches and congestion. Another option is to add bentonite clay to the bath. When mixed with water, the clay becomes highly absorbent, expanding and drawing in other substances like impurities and toxins from your skin.
6. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a hugely important vitamin for your immune system, but the lack of face time we get with the sun in these winter months means we are more than likely a wee bit deficient. Get your hands on a good quality vitamin D supplement to make sure your immune response is triggered adequately to fight off the cold bugs.
7. Olive leaf extract
This is one I’ve used personally with much success. We all know olive oil is super good for us, but you may not be aware of the benefits of the olive leaf. The leaves provide amazing immune system support and offer antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Olive leaf extract is able to help fight off the common cold and even battle viruses that are known to cause respiratory infections and the flu.
While all of these remedies are great individually for providing cold relief, combining them all together will pack one hell of a cold fighting punch and have you back to your healthy self in record time!
Written by Ché Miller
About the author
Ché has always had a passion for hospitality having completed a conjoint Bachelors Degree in International Business and Hospitality Management. She has spent the last 15 years working in the hospitality industry. This passion led her to working in a premier health retreat in Australia in her twenties. There she found the knowledge she gained inspired her to start living a healthier life.
Now Ché loves to combine her two favourite things, hospitality and wellbeing. She scours the island for the best nourishing restaurants, products and services. Ché has been living in Mallorca since early 2017, having moved from her home in New Zealand. She absolutely loves the energy of the island and everything it has to offer.
Ché’s other interests include ashtanga yoga, boxing, reading, writing, and really good coffee.